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Senate admitted bill amendments of Muslim family laws

26 July, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday admitted a bill seeking amendments in the provisions of Muslim family laws, which aimed at curbing inherited blood disorders and birth defects by making a medical certificate and premarital blood screening tests mandatory before entering into contract of marriage for building a healthy and progressive society.

The Premarital Blood Screening (Family Laws Amendment) Bill, 2016, was move by ruling Senator Chaudhary Tanvir Khan and was referred to the concerned standing committee for proper discussions. According to the amendment bill, consanguineous marriages have become a greater risk to society, as children born out of these suffer from several congenital problems. It happens particularly in the cases of children that are born out of a union involving first cousins. In such marriages, a person who carries a defect in any of the genes, associated with some form of disease, marries a person from the same kindred who also shares the same defect. The child, as a result, inherits two copies of this faulty gene and becomes victim of an inherited disease. Such inherited disabilities included blindness, cerebral palsy, mental disorders, thalassemia, physical deformities and hearing and speech impairments. In Pakistan, 77 percent of babies born with birth defects belong to parents who were cousins while such children have low rate of survival.

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani referred the bill to the concerned committee for proper deliberations.

The Senate on Monday adopted three resolutions, pertaining to control of child begging in Islamabad, providing quality health services in government hospitals and preparing a National Safety Plan and National Transport Policy for National Highways and Motorway. The senators were of the view that child begging was on constant rise in the federal capital, alleging that some sort mafia was behind the menace. They deplored that during the last six months, as many as 600 new born and infant children were missing in Lahore only.

Winding up discussion on the resolution, Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Balighur Rehman informed the House that after coming into power in 2013, the government took special steps to end the menace of beggary. He said a special squad was assigned the duty to check beggars using children for their vested interests. In this regard, he said, 1,782 people were arrested and 58 cases were registered. The children were either given to Edhi centres, SOS village and Sweet Homes while many of them were now getting proper education.

Meanwhile, the Senate passed a resolution recommending the government to prepare a National Safety Plan and National Transport Policy for National Highways and Motorways in the country. The resolution moved by Muhammad Azam Khan Swati suggested the government to protect and facilitate commuters, improve traffic discipline and introduce compulsory short courses for motorists regarding traffic rules and road safety in order to minimise road accidents and casualties.

The House adopted another resolution moved by Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, recommending the government to take immediate steps to provide quality services to patients in all government hospitals.

While speaking on a motion moved by Chaudhary Tanvir Khan regarding the need for provision of adequate salary, fringe benefits and other facilities to the Islamabad Police personnel, Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman told the House that the crime rate has reduced significantly due to efficient police reforms by the present government. He said the protocol duty has been reduced to the minimum and the police personnel were mainly deployed to maintain law and order situation.

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